Phone: 07957 285 995 Email: tracy@mint-hr.com

Mental health in the workplace - what can employers do?

Tracy Carpenter: Human Resources Consultant

 Mental health is a subject which has affected me personally and one which is all over the news at the minute. With 1 in 4 of us being affected by mental health issues, it's never been so important to get to grips with mental health in the workplace.

ACAS defines mental ill health as ranging from feeling 'a bit down' to common disorders such as anxiety and depression.Sufferers of mental health can range from high-functioning (being able to conduct their normal everyday activities) to completely debilitated, unable to complete the simplest of tasks. But while we understand what kind of impact mental health can have on everyday life, we need a greater understanding of how it can affect the workplace.

People with good mental health tend to be more productive, interact well with other colleagues and make valuable contributions to the workplace. People with poor mental health, however, are a different story altogether. A recent study found that:

  • 37% of mental ill health sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues.
  • 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks.
  • 80% find it difficult to concentrate.
  • 62% take longer to do tasks.
  • 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.

What these stats dont show, however, is how difficult people find it to have a conversation about their mental health. As you can imagine, keeping something like this to yourself could make the problem even worse. So its time to create an open, welcoming workplace that encourages employees to disclose their mental health issues.

Not sure where to start? The recent Stevenson/Farmer review, commissioned by Theresa May suggests workplaces can action the following quickly to support its employees:

  • Produce and implement a mental health at work plan make sure your employees know where they stand with their mental health, and ensure they know where to turn for help. Create a clear mental health policy that shows employees exactly what is in place to support them.
  • Develop awareness of mental health among employees why not try an annual training session? This shows you're not willing any more to brush the issue under the carpet but are willing to tackle it head on.
  • Encourage open conversations about mental health make sure your employees know who they can talk to when suffering ill mental health, and encourage a stigma-free environment.
  • Provide good working conditions and ensure a health work life balance this can be done through regular employee surveys. If the work-life balance is tipping more towards the work side, think about what steps you can take as management to ensure your employees are thriving.
  • Routinely monitor employee mental health and well-being this can be done through employee surveys, appraisals, and one-to-one meetings with employees. Having open conversations about mental health and well-being will keep your employees onside and will likely improve productivity.

Mental health doesn't have to be scary, and you don't have to tackle it on your own. Here at Mint HR we can help you create a mental health policy, as well as provide advice and guidance on how to improve the well-being of your employees. Just call us today.

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